A new 200-page report into hazing rituals at one of Australia’s most esteemed universities alleges a widespread culture of bullying, abuse, and the targeting of female students.
The Red Zone Report, published by End Rape On Campus, was released today to correlate with the orientation weeks at many of Australia’s tertiary institutions – a period of time shown to correlate with higher reported instances of abuse and harassment against first-year students.
The report includes allegations that male students living at Sydney University’s St Andrew’s residential college masturbated into the shampoo bottles of female students; that male and female first-year students at St John’s College were pelted with dead fish in a darkened room; and that some students participate in ‘The Purge’, which involves the sharing of sexually explicit and demeaning images of fellow students.
It is also alleged male freshers at St John’s partake in a ritual called ‘Green Goblin’. The hazing sees them stripped naked, painted green, provided excessive amounts of alcohol, and instructed to force down the doors of female students. The Red Zone Report alleges in 2016 a girl suffered head injuries after one of the ‘goblins’ struck her with the door while bursting into the room.
Those are only some of the allegations brought forward to End Rape On Campus.
The report’s author Nina Funnell is using the report to argue that hazing rituals should be criminalised Australia-wide due to their serious implications for student welfare. The Red Zone cites Ralph and Kathy Kelly, whose son Stuart Kelly died by suicide months after what they believe was a “catastrophic” first night at Sydney University’s St Paul’s College.
Funnell also calls for external intervention into the alleged abuses, claiming the colleges have not done enough internally to limit harm done to their residents.
St Andrew’s told the ABC it had not received any allegations of the shampoo ritual.
The rector of St John’s College told News Corp “the College takes any allegation of this sort very seriously,” and “the College encourages reporting of any inappropriate behaviour.”
St Paul’s said it had independently investigated the Kelly’s claims and found they were “not substantiated”.
If you or someone you know is dealing with mental illness, there are resources you can turn to including BeyondBlue (1300 22 4636), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) and Lifeline (13 11 14).
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